Monday Minors Beat: Brandon Nimmo Making Noise, Meet Hansel Robles, Tyler Pill Exceeding Expectations
A lot of stuff went on down on the farm this weekend. Johan made a rehab start for Brooklyn. Tyler Pill continues to dazzle in the Florida State League. Nimmo and Evans heat up with the lumber, and much more. And thanks to our new and improved Mets minor league coverage, you don’t have to search the web to find out what happened. We’ve got you covered. Check inside this latest installment of the MMO Mets Minors Beat: Monday Edition, to see what you may have missed.
C.J. Nitkowski – The left-handed starter/reliever who signed a minor league contract with the Mets in July, was promoted from Double-A Binghamton to Triple-A Buffalo. Nitkowski allowed one hit in 4 1/3 innings over six relief appearances for the B-Mets.
Wally Backman – The Bison’s manager, known for his competitive demeanor, apparently didn’t appreciate the epithets coming from the Syracuse dugout before the bottom of the fourth inning on Friday night. Backman doesn’t look for controversy, but it always seems to find him. Trotting out of the first-base dugout towards his post in the third-base coaching box, with his team up by a run in the fourth, he was a little late so he took a short-cut across the infield, passing between the mound and home. Well that didn’t sit so well with Syracuse manager Tony Beasley, who began to let Backman know from the third-base dugout without bandying any words, exactly what he thought of the route Wally took to the coaches box. Needless to say, Backman didn’t have too much to say on the matter, so he let Beasley do most of the talking. But Wally did keep repeating the same two-word phrase over and over to Beasley which had the desired effect of whipping Beasley into an absolute frenzy and causing him to run onto the field, for which he was immediately restrained and ejected from the game.
Wally continued to say the same two words to Beasley over and over until Beasley was escorted out of the dugout. It was around then that Wally got the news that he had been ejected too. He didn’t seem overly surprised but he sure was mad, really mad. He quickly handed the line-up card to hitting coach George Greer and left the dugout before the TV cameras could find him. For Beasley’s part, he must have been wearing a teflon jock-strap, because right after the game resumed, he returned to the Syracuse dugout acting like nothing had happened. The home-plate umpire did a double-take, before motioning to Beasley to get the heck out of there. Beasley looking like a poor, wide-eyed innocent victim, handed his line-up card to pitching coach Greg Booker and finally left the dugout. A story was floated to the press about somebody stealing signs but that was a bunch of bull, thrown out there as a smoke-screen to divert attention from the absurdity of the confrontation. Backman got a three-game suspension from the league. Beasley skated with a two-game suspension.
Zach Lutz – Lutz makes the Monday Edition, after having made the Friday edition last week as well. The reason? In his last 40 at-bats over 11 games, Lutz has been absolutely raking, going 18-for-40, with ten runs, four doubles, one triple, four home runs, and 11 RBI. During that time his slash-line is .450/.522/.900.
Lucas Duda – The Herd was rained out on Sunday, but in the first two games this weekend Duda started to show some signs of coming out of his prolonged slump. In Friday and Saturday’s games he went 4-for-8 with three runs and three RBI, a double, and a home run. In the eight games he has played at Buffalo this year he has started four games in RF, three games in LF, and one game at 1B.
Josh Satin – Since last Tuesday Satin has simply been en fuego. In his last four games, Satin is 8-for-14 with two runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and six RBI. For the season the Bison first-baseman is hitting .296 with 57 runs scored, 20 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 47 RBI, in 345 at-bats.
Chris Schwinden – Following up a great start last week when he went 7.0 innings and gave up one run on three hits, with five strikeouts and a walk against Indianapolis, Schwinden followed that up with a fine, six-inning performance on Saturday night. Pitching against Syracuse this time, Schwinnie gave up no runs on eight hits, with six strikeouts and a walk. The outing notched Schwinden his sixth win against seven defeats, and lowered his ERA for the year to 2.96.
Dustin Martin – The B-Mets hottest hitter got the day off on Sunday and it was well-deserved considering what he has accomplished over the last ten games. Over that time Martin has gone 15-for-33 with five runs scored, two home runs, 11 RBI, a stolen base, and five walks. His slash-line over those ten games is .455/.538/.636.
Greg Peavey – Pitching the first game of the Saturday night double-header against Reading, Peavey won his second game in his last three decisions. Tossing a seven-inning complete game, he improved his record to 5-7 on the year and lowered his ERA to 5.38 by giving up two runs, one earned, on seven hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.
Aderlin Rodriguez – Although not exactly tearing it up in the Florida State League since his recent promotion from Savannah, Rodriguez has been fairly effective at doing what he does best, producing runs. Despite hitting only .230 in 87 at-bats at Lucie so far, he has managed to score 12 runs, with five doubles, four homers, and 14 RBI, for a .425 SLG%. On Friday night he hit two home runs in the game, which represented his 19th and 20th round-trippers of the year between his two stops in A-ball. His previous season-high for home runs was established last year when he hit 17 for Savannah.
Tyler Pill – On Friday night the 22-year-old right-hander beat Fort Myers by going 7.2 innings and giving up no runs on three hits, with a walk and ten strikeouts. The win was the sixth win in his last six starts. Over those six starts he has gone 36.2 innings and given up five runs on 24 hits, with eight walks and 38 strikeouts. Since arriving at St. Lucie, he has a record of 6-1, an ERA of 1.82, and a K/BB ratio of 51/13.
Richard Lucas – In 337 at-bats this season the St. Lucie first-baseman has put up modest numbers: a .249 batting average with 21 doubles, eight home runs, and 40 RBI. In the three games this past weekend however, Lucas went 7-for-12 with four runs scored, a double, a homer, three RBI, and three stolen bases. Lucas’ hot hitting started on July 24th, when he started the day with a .232 batting average. Over the past 12 games he has gone 16-for-44 with ten runs, three doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, and four SB’s. During that time his slash-line reads .364/.417/.568. The one big problem for Lucas is his strikeouts. In 337 at-bats he has fanned 108 times this year. In 2010 at St. Lucie, he struck out a staggering 149 times in 434 at-bats. He cut down on the K’s last season because he was demoted to Low-A Brooklyn. If Lucas is to reach the lofty arena of the Double-A Eastern League, he’s going to have to improve his strike zone awareness.
Chase Huchingson – The 6’5″ lefty threw six solid innings on Sunday giving up only one run and earning his second win in his last two starts. It may not sound like a big deal, but it was by far the best game he has pitched since June 11th. The win evened his record on the year at 7-7, and hopefully indicates that he is over the slump that caused him to be knocked out of two consecutive starts in mid-July, when he couldn’t get out of the first inning, and also lose four consecutive decisions from the end of May until the middle of July.
Domingo Tapia – The 6’4″ fireballer was a hard luck loser on Friday night against Asheville. Pitching into the eighth inning and nursing a 2-1 lead Tapia allowed a one-out single, and hit a batter before being removed for closer Chasen Bradford. Bradford stumbled for one of the few times this season and allowed both inherited runners to score to let The Tourists take a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. Tapia gave up three runs, two earned on three hits with five strikeouts. The loss drops his record to 5-3 for the year with a 3.47 ERA. He retired 13 batters by ground-ball, four in the air, and five by strikeout, in his 7.1 innings.
Johan Santana – The Mets ace made his first rehab start for Brooklyn on Sunday as he works to come back from an ankle injury. He navigated his predetermined 3.0 inning stint without incident allowing no runs on one single and one walk, with three strikeouts.
Luis Cessa – The 6’3″, 20-year-old right-hander has pitched extremely well this year as a member of the talented rotation in Brooklyn. I have previously detailed his rotation-mates, but Cessa like the rest, has been the model of consistency this year. He has only averaged a shade over five innings per start, but in eight starts so far, he has not allowed more than two earned runs in any one. On Friday night against Connecticut, he picked up the win by going 5.0 innings and allowing no runs on two hits, with four strikeouts. In his last 15 innings covering three starts, he has allowed just two runs total, and his record for the year now stands at 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA.
Hansel Robles – The guy just keeps throwing outstanding outings for Brooklyn this year. In eight starts so far, he has allowed more than one earned run to score only one time, and in two starts he allowed no earned runs. His stinginess in allowing runs has given him an ERA of 1.74 which is good for 6th in the league, and he is currently 7th in the league in WHIP (behind teammates Mateo – 3rd, Cessa and Lara T- 4th) with a 0.92. He made his eighth start of the year on Saturday against Auburn and threw one of his best outings of the season. Hurling 7.0 innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits, with eight strikeouts, to improve his record on the year to 3-1. An unbelievable statistic is that in his last three starts covering 20 innings, Robles’ K/BB ratio is 24/0.
Julian Hilario - The fifth starter in the Brooklyn rotation, Hilario came on in relief of Johan Santana and picked up his first win of the year to go 1-3 with a 3.32 ERA. He threw 5.0 innings on Sunday, giving up three hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.
Brandon Nimmo – The past week has seen Nimmo really start to turn it on with the bat. In his last seven games, the Mets top pick in last years draft has gone 14-for-30 with 10 runs scored, six doubles, one home run, and four RBI. That’s good enough for a slash-line of .467/.515/.767.
Phillip Evans – After an 0-for-4 on July 28th, Evans had a batting average of .220. Then he started to put it together, and since then has brought his average up to .247. Over his last six games, Evans is 10-for-23 with eight runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, three walks and seven RBI.
Miller Diaz -The 20-year-old right-hander who replaced an ineffective Akeel Morris in the Kingsport rotation last week, made his second start of the season and pitched like many thought he would this year. Diaz went 7.0 innings and gave up one run, on five hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. With the effort he picked up his first win of the season and evened his record at 1-1.
Jeyckol De Leon – The 22-year-old catcher/first-baseman flexed his muscles this weekend with a solo homer in a losing effort on Saturday, followed by a game-winning two-run jack on Sunday. De Leon is now hitting .231 with three home runs and 11 RBI, in 104 at-bats.
Zack Wheeler – The Mets number one prospect was officially promoted to Buffalo on Friday in order to make his first Triple-A start on Monday night at Syracuse. On Saturday he was quoted on the Bisons official website: ”There’s a couple of guys who have been up and down between Triple-A and Double-A,” Wheeler said. “I talked to a few guys, and they say that guys are basically the same up here. You’ve just got to keep the ball down, and you’ll do fine. You don’t need to worry about making any big changes.”
Dylan Owen – To make room for Wheeler on the roster, the right-handed swing-man was placed on the seven-day D.L.
Robert Patterson – As was reported here on MMO on Sunday, the Mets signed free-agent RHP Robert Patterson who had pitched previously this season for the Seattle Mariners organization. Pitching for the Tacoma Rainiers, he went 1-3 with a 2.89 ERA, and four saves in 26 games this year. Patterson was activated by Buffalo on Sunday, and is available to pitch.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – To make room for Patterson, the Captain was placed on the D.L. by the Bisons, retroactive to August 4th, with plantar fasciitis.
Jeff Kaplan – The veteran reliever was activated off the D.L. by Binghamton. He had not appeared in a game since May 20th before pitching in the second game of Saturday’s double-header. His Eastern League numbers this year are as follows: 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA, one save, and a 13/6 K/BB ratio in 11.2 innings.
Cesar Puello – Recovered from his hamstring injury and was activated from the D.L. The last time Puello played was on July 24th. For the year he is hitting .243 with one home run and 11 RBI in 152 at-bats with St. Lucie. His K/BB ratio really illustrates his struggles at the plate this year, he has struck out 41 times while walking only four times. His stock has dropped a great deal already this season, and with the present front office of the Mets he had better learn some strike zone discipline, or he may not be long for this organization.
Joe Bonfe – The super-utility guy keeps getting stashed on the D.L. to make room for this guy or that guy, and Bonfe isn’t even hurt! That’s what the Mets do now, since they don’t have the GCL affiliate anymore, they have to find creative ways to stash some of their extra players away so they don’t lose them. It certainly doesn’t do anything to help the player’s development.
Gavin Cecchini – As reported here on MMO on Saturday, the young shortstop suffered a broken middle finger and was placed on the D.L. There is a possibility that he may recover fast enough to still play the final week or two of the season. Infielder Anthony Chavez will get the majority of the reps at shortstop while Cecchini is on-the-mend.
Alberto Baldonado – Was sent from Kingsport to Savannah and immediately stashed away on the Savannah D.L., the young lefty has been activated and sent back to Kingsport where he belongs. He pitched in the 18-2 loss to Greenville on Friday night, but was the only K-Mets hurler who did not give up a hit or a run in the game. He went 1.0 inning with a walk and a strikeout, in what was only the second time he has pitched this year.
Remember to check back with MMO everyday for Mets news and opinion you can’t get anywhere else. The Mets Minors Beat is a new feature that will be appearing every Monday and Friday through the end of the minor league season. Enjoy.
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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